Tag Archives: job hunting

How to find a job at a convention – part 1


How do you find boxers? Go to a boxers convention.

Why search for a job at a convention? The people who are there are real.  People who talk like you do. This old boxer puts it beautifully.

I look at ordinary people in their suits, them with no scars, and I’m different.  I don’t fit with them.  I’m where everybody’s got scar tissue on their eyes and got noses like saddles.  I go to conventions of old fighters like me and I see the scar tissue and all them flat noses and it’s beautiful.  Galento, may he rest in peace.  Giardello, LaMotta, Carmen Basilio.  What a sweetheart Basilio is.  They talk like me, like they got rocks in their throats.  Beautiful!  (Pastrano)

There are three different ways to work a convention to find a new job:

  1. Pay for yourself to go and work it for all it is worth.
  2. Go there as an exhibitor (and also find a job)
  3. Go there on your company’s dime to do research (and also find a job)

All three can be done ethically, and that’s a key.  No one is going to want to hire a louse who uses his company’s resources dishonorably to search for a job.

The freewheeling job search you can engage in when you pay for yourself contains elements beyond what is acceptable under the other two.  Tomorrow I will start discussing the details of how to find a job at a convention….ethically.

The first thing to do is to find out which conventions are the most important in your industry.  That’s easy: ask.  Ask your boss and his boss.  Call up leaders in the industry and ask which conventions have the most movers and shakers attending.  Ask experts in your field where the most dramatic new products are introduced.  If anyone asks you why the sudden interest, tell them the truth, “Learning more about our industry and competitors will help me advance my career more quickly.”

Be prepared.  Your company may offer to pay your way.  If they do, you need to be ethical about the whole process.  We’ll deal with that problem in a few days.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of the most important conventions in your field.  Find out when and where they will be held.  Check to see what an exposition hall pass costs.  Quite often it is free to visit the advertisers, but you have to pay to listen to speakers.



Make your job search 50% more effective

The first step to making your job search 50% more effective, is to really know what is happening.  Yes, get a job in half the time. Let me give you an example that changed my life that applies to your job search.

I was overspending by 20% every month. I had an absolutely fixed income.  So I bought a notepad and kept track of every expense.  In one week it was obvious where the money went.  In a month it was unavoidable.  The truth? 20% of my very limited income was going for lemonade from cozy little shops in Murcia, Spain.

Your time is very limited.  You only get 24 hours a day.  You can’t buy more time. Do you really know how you use it?

Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace. (Sawyer)

Buy a small notebook.  Exert incredible discipline for one day each month.  Every time you shift tasks, write it down.  A phone call is a shifted task.  An internet link can be a shifted task.  Write it down.

It may help to create 15 minute intervals on the paper and write down what you did for each 15 minute period.

Now get out the chainsaw.  What was really REALLY productive?  Do you spend 2 hours daily trying to avoid offending people by chatting amiably or reading their useless emails.  Cut out the unproductive stuff.

Make sure you do what is important.  Education is essential. Networking is critical.  Talk about the NCAA tournament with Larry—don’t kid yourself.  That email of funny things kids do—delete it.

I tried it. I found I was spending hours each day with candidate email that wouldn’t do any good.  I did a 2 month experiment.  I took all my job openings off the internet. Instead I started calling up people.  In the recruiting business that is taking a chainsaw to your daily schedule.  Nothing neat and clean, I just cut 25% of my time wasted.  I have since added back some job ads, but not where everyone else advertises.  Now I get better candidates and less time wasters.

Create the log.  Keep it for a day or a week.  Get your chainsaw out.  Cut off the termite riddled, least productive part of the log.  Use the time you save to get the most useful things possible done.


Something To Do Today

Create a time log.  Use it for your job or your job hunting.  Keep it. Analyze it.  Chainsaw it.


Next:      Unbelievable networking facts.

Later:               Take unfair advantage of those networking facts.

Are you job hunting? or working hard?

Useful work or administrivia?

One of my managers told me, “Bryan, you don’t work hard enough.  I put in 60 or 70 hours a week. Even if I’m just in here filing stuff, I’m getting more done than you.”  I couldn’t answer him.  I was too amazed.  He took my silence for the deep pondering of a well taught student and left. I am grateful he could not read my mind.

The hardest working people I know are paid about the same as others who work steadily and put in 40 to 45 hours a week.  Both the 70 hour week and 45 hour week people are VP’s and directors. They are paid the same.

The people working seventy hours a week focus on the 3 do’s differently.  They focus on working efficiently or hard.  They want to get a lot of work done. At the end of the day they point to the fact that they did the work of 3 people in only 70 hours.

The 3 do’s

  • Do it.
  • Do it right
  • Do it right now


The people working 40 to 45 hours a week also focus on the 3 do’s.  But they first prioritize.  They try to avoid adminstrivia, the things we are asked to do that don’t really help.

One director I worked for said, “When my boss asks for a new report, I faithfully send it to him for 3 weeks.  It is always a masterpiece.  The fourth week I prepare it for him and don’t send it.  If he calls and asks for it I apologize and he has it in his hands in minutes. Most of the time he never asks for it.  I prepare it for a couple of more weeks just in case, then I stop entirely.”   He was one of the most highly rated directors in that company.

Now lets get something straight.  45 or 90 hours of wasted time will get you nowhere.  Solitaire, internet poker and reading the news don’t count as well spent time.  You have to be doing what’s most important for 40 hours each week to beat out the person working 70 hours.

In your job search or your job this lesson applies.  Are you only putting in the time or are you focusing?  Are you doing the hard things that will have the biggest impact, or are you spending your time in the same online job boards praying for miracles?

Do it.  Do it right.  Do it right now.  Don’t get distracted.  Focus on what is most important.  Then take some time off with your friends and family.  They’re important too.


Something To Do Today

It is time to figure out what you are doing.   Really.  Make a list of the things you do at work or in your job search each day and each week.  Think about it.  Are you consistently working on the most important stuff, or are you merely focusing on activity?

How 2100 hirers say you should use social media

More and more companies are using social media to find and vet job candidates, and more and more often, social media is giving these companies reasons to not hire a candidate.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder found that two in five companies…Click here to read more about the survey of 2100 hirers.

Religion, politics, sexuality, and job hunting

Muslim Sharia Law was the final standard for a company I knew well.  Not Iran or Taliban style Sharia Law, but their own internal version.  Most people who worked there didn’t care at all. However, bringing a gal other than your wife to the company picnic could get you fired.  All doors to offices had a glass window so you could be seen if you were in there with a member of the opposite sex.  No alcohol was allowed on the property and ham sandwiches were discouraged.  Christians, Jews and atheists were happy to work there and hardly noticed a thing.  You just had to know the pressure points, what the rules really meant.

That one US company combined religion, politics and sexual repression all on the job.  Some people loved it.  For that company, it was a sweet spot.  It was where they wanted to be.  They associated with people that made them feel comfortable.

Bring those “Sharia Law” ideas into most interviews and you will not be hired. Companies are into frictionless relations.  Don’t bother each other, work together as a team, and win while getting along.

In Carlisle, PA there was a freshly minted CPA who was upset because she felt she couldn’t put up her “Gay Pride” banner on the wall of her office.  What she didn’t think about was that there weren’t any swimsuit calendars on the walls either.  That office was a rigidly traditional suit and tie business.  They were accountants tracking people’s money, not activists.

20 miles to the east there is an office where you had better consider gay activism as a benign activity.  It seems everyone in the office is into it.

I know one company where the owners and workers all switch political parties depending on who the governor of the state is.  If you can’t change, don’t apply for a job.

How do you find these kinds of things out?  First of all be in touch with your feelings.  If something is not right and you don’t know what, say, “What do I need to know about the unwritten office rules?  Are there any rules or expectations that some people would consider unusual here?” Expect your interviewer not to understand.  Gently probe.

Religion, politics and sexuality may be very important in your job hunting.  If they are, make sure people know it.  But you also need to understand that it may extend your job hunt to a very long period of time.

Something to do today

Make sure you know who you are and what you will put up with.  It may make a huge difference in where you go to work.

If you have a pet peeve or interest, write down two or three questions that will help you evaluate the office atmosphere of the places you are applying to for work.


next time:

“People shopping less” affects your job search

Show you are the “big bear” on your resume

I have been around a lot of big bears in Pennsylvania. It is exciting.  Still, I have only seen one bear in Pennsylvania.  Bears leave behind footprints, scratched trees and scat (the polite way of referring to bear excrement).  As a matter of fact, some bears try to impress other bears by showing how high on a tree they can scratch the bark away.  They may never see each other, but bears know who is the “big bear”.

In  job hunting you need to let people know you are the “big bear”.  Don’t tell them everything you did at your last job..  Show them signs of your size and impact.  In your resume do not give every detail of your jobs.  Show the things that prove you are the “big bear” now.

Are you a Controller or CFO?  How much money did you save your company?  How much new revenue did you personally drive to the bottom line?

If your title is manager, assume that people know you hire, make budgets, and write reports.  Increased revenue, how much money you saved, and faster execution are things that show how high you reached.

As a programmer you need to have a list of languages you know somewhere on the resume.  That’s necessary but it doesn’t make you stand out.  The fact that your last five projects came in on time and under budget will show you are a big bear.

Don’t hide what you accomplished in a forest of petty details.  Make the things that prove you are a big bear unmissable.  If you have ten bullet points about one job, get rid of half of them.  A five line paragraph will hide a lot of accomplishments.  Make three short bullets instead or put a couple of keywords in bold font.

Show you are the big bear.   Stretch up high and scratch that tree where the other bears can’t miss it.

Something to do today

Hand you resume to some friends.  Give them 45 seconds to read it, then ask them what your biggest accomplishments are.  45 seconds is a very thorough read for resumes, most only get 10 seconds.  If you can’t get your point across in 45 seconds, getting hired will be pure luck.


Later:             Get references on the company

Get references on yourself

The job hunting catechism

My neighbor invited me to his catechism class.  He went every Wednesday to learn the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church.  He showed me the book they used.  The teacher would read a question and the kids would read an answer back.  They would also talk about the answer.  It didn’t sound very interesting to my 8 year old mind, so I decided to play baseball instead of going with him.

I  read an article that said that today they do more lecture style teaching of the catechism.  But the problem has become that the teachers don’t teach rigorous doctrine.  Instead, the teacher and texts teach what is popular.  I heard the catechism teaching is going to shift back to training that is less flexible.

Confusion is always the most honest response. (Marty Indik)

Job hunting?  What does this have to do with job hunting?

Learning comes in stages.  First you have to learn to give a correct response.  It may be dull to learn and practice, but you will be right.  After you know a correct response and why it is correct, you can experiment with different answers.  Eventually you will come up with much better responses than you were originally taught.  But every once in a while you have to go back to the old catechism.  You have to check what you are now saying against what really needs to be said.

The next few days are going to be going over interview questions you need to ask.  I’ll start out with the basics.  They are the questions that work in every interview.  Then I’ll go to questions that set you apart in an interview.

I suggest you repeat your practice questions aloud 3 times before you go in for an interview.  When you are in the interview, don’t worry about getting them word perfect.  You’ll have the ideas cemented in your brain.  You’ll be prepared to set yourself apart from the competition by the questions you ask.

Something to do today

Make a list of at least 3 questions or topics you should ask about in every interview.

Now think about the exact wording.  Can you make the questions show your keen interest in doing a great job and helping your team?


Later:                        Your interview questions

How to get more vacation

Moth traps

How to be an internal referral instead of just another resume in HR

Internal referrals are the fast track to a job.

Here is a link to how to become a solid internal referral by using LinkedIn and a phone.


14 ways to job hunt like a kid

Kids can be a practically irresistible force.  I have 10 children.  Usually I can resist them.  Not always.  Here’s how they win.

  1. Be totally, irresistibly and eternally committed to a world changing idea
  2. Jump up and down with enthusiasm
  3. “No” means not now
  4. “Not now” means try again in 5 minutes
  5. Laugh, smile and tickle your dad
  6. Run around and get all the other kids excited out of their minds
  7. Ask dad for help to figure out how to do it
  8. Cry if dad is not listening
  9. See if you can turn it into a school project
  10. Ask mom to talk to dad about it
  11. Bring a partially completed task to dad to be fixed
  12. Change your plans and try again in an hour
  13. A small explosion in the yard will get dad’s attention
  14. Make it a game

Kids win because they are too excited to accept defeat.  They are willing to try every possible way around an obstacle.  When I am the obstacle and they are really really determined, they know they can win. One man described that level of enthusiam and determination this way:

The ability to understand a question from all sides meant one was totally unfit for action.  Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of the real man.  (Thucydides)

Is there a job you really really want?  Why not job hunt like a kid?

Something to do today

Take a pen and paper and translate each of those 14 things into something you can use for job hunting or working for a promotion in real life.


Tomorrow:     Fingerprint locks and getting hired

Picking up a hundred dollar bill

Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches

A giant cockroach steals the hero’s gun and swallows it.  So the hero taunts the cockroach until it eats him.  A few minutes later the cockroach explodes and our hero is standing there holding the huge gun the monster ate a few minutes before.  Men In Black was a lot of fun.  In that case the only way to save the world was to survive in the stomach of a giant bug.

There has to be at least 5 great job hunting analogies there.  Create your own, then read mine.  I bet mine is different.

The giant bug wants nothing more than to get into its spaceship and get away.  Of course the earth will be destroyed if it gets away, but that is not the bug’s problem.  So the two puny humans must do everything they can to keep it from leaving.  They taunt it, harass it, insult it, and step on small earthly cockroaches (relatives and friends) to get it to delay its departure.  They figure out what the bug can’t ignore and get it to come back and deal with them.

Don’t show this to any of my clients please.  They won’t like it, but I have to say this.

Hiring managers really are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you.  You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you.  They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you.  So take three lessons from the way the Men In Black fought the giant bug:

  1. You have to find the right words
  2. You have to engage them in conversation
  3. A relative or friend may be able to get them to talk to you

Over the next three days I will show you how to do each of these things.  The giant cockroach, I mean the hiring manager, will give you all the hints you need.  I’ll show you what those hints are.

Something to do today

There really are at least 5 other analogies from my opening paragraph.  Have some fun and talk about it with a friend.  Just make sure your  manager is not around.


Later:                    Getting eaten by aliens – the right words

Engage them in conversation

A relative or friend can help